18 February 2015
Geologists and archeologists often use the stratification of rock, dirt, and sediment on the Earth’s surface to determine when some eras end and others begin. When it comes to dating the planet, there are key indicators that let us know what moment of time we’re in. Similarly, there are now indications that we are entering a new era of digital marketing.
The Key Indicators
A report by eConsultancy hails “the end of the beginning” for online marketing. In other words, digital is maturing. With the rise of ecommerce and more expansive online marketing efforts, the digital space is no longer a simple side attraction for businesses. Instead, digital is now a fully assimilated part of the selling and marketing mix.
The eConsultancy surveys and research point to the rise of a few specific indicators that represent a new era for online marketing: (1) the desire for greater integration; (2) bringing key functions in-house; and (3) more efficiency.
The research shows that more companies are either integrating or showing a desire to integrate their online solutions (such as ecommerce and CMS) with their backend systems (like ERP and CRM). Integration lets you offer a better customer experience to your web visitors.
For example, an ecommerce solution integrated with your ERP allows you to give your customer a better experience on the frontend with up-to-the-minute information on pricing, stock, shipping, order status, and more. And integration with the CRM offers new avenues of personalized content for digital marketing. The growth of integration shows that digital isn’t just a diversion. Online is an integral part of the business.
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Content From Within
The research also points to the growth of content created from within as a sign of online marketing maturation. Content marketing presents a real and viable way to build credibility, expertise, and community, while simultaneously driving more traffic to your website. Of course, someone has to create all this content. The shift towards creating more content in-house puts marketers in control of their own campaigns.
In order to take control of their own content, marketers actually need a CMS that’s easy enough for them to use and doesn’t require technical intermediaries. Once that hurdle is cleared though, the best marketers harness the power of updating their own content, using SEO best practices, planning email campaigns, and more. The success of content marketing is another proof that online marketing has moved to a new era.
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All these tactics for effective marketing campaign are important. But as the study points out, more and more companies are moving beyond “effective” and also considering efficiency. Effectiveness is how well the campaign is working. Efficiency is making the campaign work better with the same resources.
During the infancy of online marketing, some companies thought the web was “set it and forget it.” But now the increase in efficiency shows the growth of online marketing. Marketers themselves are using analytics with testing and thorough reports to constantly improve, and that’s the future.
The Digital Norm
As we end the “beginning” of digital marketing, we begin a new phase, which defines the new normal. Digital marketing and online selling are the digital norm. So if you haven’t caught up with your competitors, there’s no time like the present to learn the lessons of integration, content marketing, and efficient campaigns.